SLS2020002 UNDERWRITING - Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) Update
This bulletin has been partially revised by SLS2020005.
Date: March 16, 2020
To: All Issuing Offices
RE: UNDERWRITING - Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) Update
Numerous county and other recording offices have closed or will close because of the impact of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). In some cases, electronic recording may remain available.
Stewart will issue policies if you are able to do customary searches of the title (including real estate taxes) and you record the documents. If electronic filings are the only means of recording in the county or other recording office, you must record electronically.
If you are unable to secure current searches of the title and if you do not have satisfactory title information, Stewart will not insure the title. If you have questions concerning the adequacy of the search, please review your state bulletins or call a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.
If you have satisfactory title information, but you are unable to record the real estate documents (including any mortgage and deed) because the county or other recording office is closed and is not accepting electronic filings, Stewart will insure the title if these conditions are met:
- The policy will not exceed $3 million;
- You secure your customary title affidavit and you also secure an STG Gap Indemnity Agreement;
- The title examination does not show that the seller/borrower is subject to any outstanding involuntary or statutory liens (such as judgment liens, tax liens, or mechanic’s liens) or lawsuit;
- The insured mortgage is not a construction mortgage and there has been no recent construction; and
- All insureds acknowledge in writing that recording and the return of the original deed and mortgage will be delayed until the county or other recording office is open.
All commitments and preliminary reports issued after the date of this bulletin must include the following:
The Company reserves the right to raise exceptions and requirements or determine that it will not issue a title policy based upon the details of the transaction, the review of the closing documents, and changes in recording and title searching capabilities resulting from the COVID-19 virus.
If your transaction will not comply with these guidelines or if you have any questions, please call a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.
Links to FAQ’s and a list of closed recording offices will be added when available.
We will issue supplemental national and state bulletins as necessary to further assist you.
As a reminder, you are responsible for knowledge of and compliance with the information contained in all Bulletins and Special Alerts as posted on Virtual Underwriter (www.vuwriter.com), whether you receive them by electronic distribution or not.
For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.
THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.
No guidelines are available for this form at this time.